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Messages - Matt B

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Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Aerating Wort
« on: November 02, 2011, 02:48:32 PM »
Home Despot or your local welding supply shop will have the red o2 bottles.

I've actually switched over to using my regular air compressor and an air filter for aerating standard beers, and let it run for ~5 mins or so. Haven't had any issues, and cheaper and more readily available than going straight o2. When making really big beers I do still go with the pure o2 to get the ppm you need.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Ale fermented at 62 degrees
« on: March 22, 2011, 07:09:34 PM »
The only thing that might be missing, depending on the yeast strain, is that british or irish 'interesting-ness' which are phenols and esters that are produced with the warmer temps. The belgian yeasts will produce more than enough of these even at lower temperatures, and doing them at higher temps may produce more of that character than you actually intended. But again, depends on the yeast and the beer you're going for.

If people are saying (and they seem to be) that with that yeast and lower temps that it still makes a great beer with great character, you're safe, and like everyone else said, and I think you're already doing, letting it warm up to finish fermenting out is a good idea. Just be sure there are no dips in the temperature, especially with the british strains, as they'll tend to flocculate and drop out and you may have a hard time getting it to final gravity.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Canning Yeast Starters
« on: March 06, 2011, 02:45:01 AM »
I go with 1lb DME per gallon of water for a gravity of around 1.050, not sure what a cup ends up being, the only times I've noticed the wort being darker was when I used amber instead of light DME. If the DME is old, it's oxidized a bit (totally fine for a starter) which will tend to darken it a bit. If you had the flame on super high and was doing a *really* vigorous boil for at least an hour (I only go 15 minutes to sanitize) then possibly some maillard reactions. Other than that, either too much DME for the volume of water, serious boil off, I can't think of any way the wort could end up being darker.

Even then, I wouldn't worry about it. I usually chill the starter to put the yeasties to sleep, and decant off the excess liquid. Even if you're doing a pils or something, i can't imagine the residual color from the yeast contributing that much to the final beer.

Beer Recipes / Re: Golden Ale Suggestions
« on: November 24, 2010, 05:07:51 PM »
What Gordon said.

My favorite is:
90% american 2 row
6.5% american crystal 15
1.3% honey malt
1.3% munich malt

OG: 1.050, WLP001 as I like a clean fermentation for this beer, usually ferments down to 1.008. SRM is around 4.5.

I find that the touch of honey and munich gives just enough of a malty complexity without getting the clean character of a blonde muddled, though your could probably use a pils malt for this as well, and I think you get just enough body and sweetness from the crystal to balance with the bitterness.

I do a two step mash starting at 64C for 30 minutes then raising it up to 70C. But a longer mash at around 64C should be fine. You don't want the longer dextrins in this beer, you want it fermentable.

I do a 50/50 mix of williamette and cascade for 60 minutes, about 10IBU each, most of the citrusy notes are lost with the long boil and leaves just enough for some character, and then another 5IBU of williamette @15 for a subtle flavoring hop.

I also up the sulfates (gypsum) just a tad to help make the beer finish clean and relatively dry. Use a fairly low mineral content water (mix your tap water with reverse osmosis/distilled water), you don't need much bicarbonate in the water for the light grains you're using.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Sparge Arm Ideas?
« on: November 23, 2010, 08:34:49 PM »
Agree that an overly fancy arm is probably unneeded. But since I use the same contraption to maintain and raise my temps as well as lauter, I do need to make sure that I don't have a single stream else it will channel (and I've proven this on accident) as well as need to keep it submerged to avoid excessive HSA. I currently use a bit of 1/4" copper pipe that I wrapped around a wine bottle with a 90 degree bend pointing straight up, then drilled some holes. I then have a copper arm coming straight out horizontally with a 90 degree elbow. I attach the two with some vinyl tubing that can slide up and down the vertical part of the copper manifold.

If it's hard to visualize, don't worry about it, as I'm in the process of ordering some loc-line to attach to a copper manifold to get it to the right height. I'm thinking this will be the better way to go, and for $10, totally worth it.

The problem with a sparge arm is that they typically sit above the grain bed, and if you're going to run anything but water through it, I wouldn't recommend it for fear of excessive HSA. Anything home made you're going to have to find a way to maintain height as it'll change depending on how much grain is in there. And it's not that easy.

If you're not worried about HSA (as in the beer will be drank within a couple of months) then just taking a bit of flexible copper and attaching it so that the return basically runs it along the side of the kettle will probably be sufficient for a RIMS/HERMS, lautering and sparging (if you keep the liquid about an inch above the grain.) The dispersion of the liquid across the very edge and keeping the inertia of the liquid going horizontally vs vertically into the grain should keep channeling to a minimum.

And I would avoid the normal while PVC stuff, I've heard it can add a plastic flavor to your beer. There may be better PVC (the black stuff? CPVC?) that won't contribute flavors if copper's not an easy option.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: my starter is green
« on: October 19, 2010, 05:05:38 PM »
My general rule of thumb for starters is that if it doesn't smell like yeast, toss it. And the green may have me worried enough that I'd toss it just because. If it smells okay, maybe even lacking some yeast character, measure the gravity to see if any fermentation has occurred?

Equipment and Software / Re: CFC to Whirlpool question
« on: October 14, 2010, 02:55:12 PM »
I do the same thing.

The enzyme portion's already been covered.
DMS: as already stated, you're safe.
hop isomerization: you will continue to get some hop isomerization and break down of the essential oils of your aroma hops, I have noticed this, it's not horribly bad, and usually only add my aroma hops once I've begun to cool.

the beer overall, clarity, etc, I have no idea if this is detrimental to it or not. I do have issues with clarity, but I've always had issues with clarity before I started doing the recirc. I haven't had any issues with overall flavor or head retention.

And now to hijack the thread as well: my whirlpool lacks much whirlpool foo. I do 10g batches. The inlet to the keggle is at the top, I do have some copper bits to get it further down, into the wort by at least 4 inches or so (avoid hot side aeration as much as I can) and I do notice *some* circular motion, but not much, and I rather doubt just how effective it is, as at the end, I still have a fairly uniform amount of break and hop material across my false bottom. I try to stir it up and help the whirlpool out, but not to much effect.

So I'm curious as to how much movement you see, what pump you're using how far up/down your inlet is in your kettle, and what's the height difference between the top most point of your inlet and your pump. Me, I've got a march pump (I forget the model, the basic non-self-priming ones), pumps through the morebeer chillzilla which is maybe a foot above the pump, into the kettle which is probably another 3-4 feet up.

Equipment and Software / Re: Copper manifold questions
« on: September 30, 2010, 05:09:10 PM »
The link has some good designs. If you're batch sparging, the easiest is probably just go buy a handful of elbows and tees and use some rigid copper and have a square manifold with a couple of crosses in your round cooler, with batch sparging it really won't make any difference. Rigid copper's cheaper, and if you're like me, you bang it around a lot and it's less prone to bending.

For hooking it up to the spigot, the elbows and stuff actually fit reasonably tight, and as long as there is liquid flow creating a laminar effect, it's less likely to start sucking in air and losing suction once the liquid level gets towards the bottom. If it doesn't fit well for whatever reason, put some petroleum jelly on the copper sleeve when you slide your manifold on and that'll help. Just make sure you don't make your manifold too big so you can slide it on.

I wouldn't bother soldering any of it, I didn't. As long as you don't use it as a frisbee, it's unlikely to just fall apart, and makes cleaning easier.

Also make sure that when you cut your slots in the copper, have the slots facing downward: helps with getting all of the wort out and also avoid creating too much suction and clogging up your manifold.

Equipment and Software / Re: Quick disconnects
« on: September 28, 2010, 03:24:57 PM »
Also check out prices at McMasterCarr, the 'high flow' ones are the same style as the morebeer stainless QD's. I personally would avoid the CPC ones, they clog and I had problems with the o-rings breaking all the time. I would love to go the triclamp route, but way more pricey, but probably worth it if you're brewing all the time. And while making beer, if the brass ones are significantly cheaper, I would say go that route. The limited exposure to wort won't be enough to leach lead out.

I went the morebeer SS QD route, love 'em. But, I spent a gawdawful amount of money on them. If I were to do it again, I'd go brass.
Cheaper. Less shiny though.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Screen, Braid, or Manifold
« on: September 26, 2010, 06:50:02 PM »
Unless you have the equipment for fly sparging, I agree on the batch sparging and that none of them really matter. My only opinion is that the stainless steel braid never worked for me, it clogged up. And it tended to float through the grain bed as I was stirring.

But what you *do* want to do is make sure that whatever is actually drawing the water out (excluding the braid, manifold, etc) is as close to the bottom as possible, or you will be losing sparging efficiency due to an inch of wort sitting there because the air level met whatever open piece of equipment you're using. Stick a couple of 90 degree copper elbows together if you have to.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Dear yeast...
« on: August 10, 2010, 10:55:34 PM »
I had a blow out once. It sprayed brown goopy sticky hop bit mess all over the wall and ceiling. What a mess.

I would just use some flexible tubing to connect it to the dip tube or the gas tube that protrudes an inch or so down, run as much tubing to get the stone as far down as you would like. Of course, this is assuming that the barb on the stone and the tubes are about the same diameter, otherwise you're going to have to get creative. I wouldn't use any clamps as they're usually not SS, and because of that I wouldn't go crazy with the pressure lest you blow the thing off and you've got a useless stone now sitting at the bottom of your fermenter.

Beer Recipes / Re: brewing light beer
« on: August 08, 2010, 04:48:41 PM »
I'm also partial to blondes (beer and women both) especially during the summer. Easy drinking. Light. Won't get you completely trashed. Made with ale yeast so it's not as hard or long to ferment as a lager.

A recipe that's worked out well for me (and hasn't stuck around long enough for me to enter into a competition):

10g batch, all grain
7kg american 2 row
.5kg crystal 15
.1kg honey malt
.1kg munich malt (I like my blonde with just a touch of a malty flavor)
1oz willamette @60m
1oz cascade @60m
1oz willammete @15m
WLP001 chico strain ale yeast

I cut my tap water with RO water to get the carbonates down to 145, and SO4:Cl ratio was about 4:1, keep that baby crisp, you notice the maltiness at first, but doesn't linger in the aftertaste.

I didn't start drinking until I was 23. I know, blasphemy and how the hell did I go from not drinking to brewing my own beer? Well, up until that point growing up in rural PA, I had only had what I now refer to as american piss beer (APB) and rum. Turns out, I have a strong disliking for both. So I was convinced I just didn't like booze until I moved out to California and was introduced to good beer, good vodka and good wine. Then it was straight down hill.

My taste, personally, as this is all we're talking about here, is that APB doesn't have any, and what little there is just isn't very good. Couple that with the huge amounts of carbonation (which I'm not a fan of and one of the reasons I don't drink much soda.) I like to take small drinks of something and savor the flavor and not have it turn into a frothy mass of foam in my mouth, which APB fails on both.

I can see how many people, even those who do enjoy many different beers (at which point 100% of them will have more body and flavor) which is fine. I've even been to wedding receptions in Phoenix in the middle of summer and still gone for the water instead of the Bud. It's just not for me (un?)fortunately.

I do agree that brewing an american lager with no major flaws is very very hard. The DMS and the diacetyl is quite difficult to get down to controllable levels for us homebrewers, and the big guys have come up with some very interesting industrial scale techniques to help with that. Which is impressive and testament to the quantity they deal with and the amount of time they've been doing it.

I also believe that most americans would in fact like different beers if they would venture out and try it. But given the marketing strategies of the big guys (and they're very good at it) and their control and influence with the distributors, people just don't try. The APBs are right there BAM in your face and people just go for the old standard, which people are prone to do.

Equipment and Software / Re: Stir Plate
« on: August 07, 2010, 07:26:31 PM »
Yeah, that's why I made my own. Pricey buggers. Wasn't overly difficult if you've ever done any sort of circuitry before (though for me it had been about 20 years, but hey, it's not rocket science.)

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